Want the time of day?
ROchester 7-8900 will give you time of day
Just dial ROchester 7-8900, the new time number that goes into effect Sunday along with the start of dial telephone service.
But don’t bother to say thank you when the girl tells you the time. Her voice is recorded, and is broadcast by an electronic time machine called an audichron that isn’t even in Placerville.
The audichron is kept in Pacific Telephone’s San Francisco office and gives out the time, via a special long distance circuit, to almost everyone who asks from Oregon to Bakersfield. The company figures it is easier that way than to supply a time machine to every town.
The audichron is manufacturing in Atlanta, Georgia, and the recorded voice belongs to an Atlanta housewife named Mary Moore. People who work around the telephone company call her Audie.
Actually, the company has two audicrons in San Francisco. One broadcasts the time, and the other stands by on an emergency basis.
The automatic time system was started by Pacific Telephone in 1948, about 20 years after operators first started telling people the time as a public service.
But apparently a lot of people still don’t realize that it is a machine at the other end of the phone. For each Christmas, the telephone company gets dozens of greetings cards addressed to “the girl who gives the time.”
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Publication: The Mountain Democrat (Placerville, Calif.)
Publication date: July 18, 1957